Voting Facts

  • Voting Age: 18 or older - register
    16 - 17 pre-register Vote at 18.

  • Citizenship: Yes

  • Felons: Can vote if not on Parole

  • Homelessness: the intersection of two cross streets will allow the Elections Dept. to assign you a polling place. For a Vote by Mail ballot you need a location for the ballot to be sent such as Ritter Center, or Homeward Bound.
  • Registration status: Check with California Secetary of State

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As of April, 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles changed its voter registration process for applicants seeking a driver’s license or ID card. It is important that voters know about the process and the steps they need to take to ensure they are registered with all their preferences indicated, including political party, language preference for election materials, and permanent vote by mail status. Voter education is more important than ever, to ensure voters are completely registered.

The first step occurs while the voter is renewing or applying for a driver’s license or ID card. The basic information of name, address, birthdate, citizenship, and desire to be registered is handled at the window where the renewing and applying occurs. That information is transmitted to the Secretary of State’s office.

A second step is required if the voter wants to state or change a language or political party preference, request vote-by-mail ballots, or ask to be a poll worker. To handle this part of registration, the voter is sent to a touchscreen machine. If the second step doesn’t occur before the voter leaves the DMV office, the voter is registered without a party preference and in English.  Even if the voter merely wants to change the address, the second step must be done. This is similar to the way a paper registration form is handled…the whole form must be filled out.

If a voter is renewing a driver’s license or ID card online, the voter will be sent to the Secretary of State’s online registration form. The basic information (name, address, birthdate) will already be filled in on the registration form so that the voter need only deal with party preference, language preference and vote-by-mail requests.

All of this procedure is subject to change. California’s New Motor Voter law is expected to be implemented in 2017. Since the current process will provide the basic infrastructure for that, we are monitoring the changes carefully.


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Why Local Elections Matter

For many voters, the most important election — perhaps the only election in which they vote — is for president.  These races are covered by the media for months, even years prior to election day.  The candidates are likely to be much better known, and the issues are presented as having national, even global, importance.

The case can be made, though, that it is in local government elections that voters can have the most power and the greatest influence.

A member who once served on a school board said to a friend in the next town, “If you see me shopping in your market, it’s because I’m in a hurry.”  She meant, “If I shop in my market, I’ll get stopped by voters who have school district issues to discuss.”

At the local level, voters can attend board, commission, and committee meetings; read and understand minutes and staff reports; serve on citizen advisory committees; call officials at home; even stop them in the aisle of the supermarket.

It is the local government election where the local branches of the League of Women Voters feel the greatest responsibility and make the most effort with candidate debates and voter registration and information activities. If you are looking for information as the June election approaches, please visit our site again. If you are interested in helping others become informed voters, please join us!